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Addiction Treatment for Nurses

Addiction Treatment for Nurses - Florida Drug Rehab

Certain populations seem to have an increased risk for addiction over others.  High stress environments with easy access to controlled substances are risk factors for addiction that may make certain groups more susceptible.  Nurses are one such group.  Their job is difficult, requires long hours and their decisions can mean the difference between life and death.  The high stress environment together with frequent contact with controlled substances puts nurses at risk for addiction. Since addiction can negatively impact their ability to work effectively, nurses cannot work while abusing controlled substances.  When the options are immediate dismissal or entering a treatment program, the hope is that more employers and nurses will choose treatment. Addiction treatment canad help nurses overcome addiction and positively impact the world by continuing in their profession of assisting patients and saving lives.  

Risk for Addiction

Nurses are at risk for addiction because of the nature of their job.  Not only does their job involve a high amount of stress, but they are also likely to have contact with a variety of controlled substances. A large part of their job is to increase comfort to their patients by providing them with medication.  This easy access to medication can be a high temptation.  Reasons nurses are at a high risk for addiction and reasons they may not seek help include:

  • Stress. The demands of a nursing job are many, and involve long shifts that require them to balance the needs of several patients. Often they may need to make decisions quickly, and the result may affect a person’s life.  Stress puts people at risk for addiction because they sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol as a temporary relief to stress.  

  • Access. Nurses often come in contact with controlled substances as they administer to their patients.  It may be tempting to switch out medication or record incorrect amounts in a patient’s chart while pocketing the difference.  

  • Alert. Some nurses may be tempted to use drugs to keep them more alert on the job.  Long hours may cause them to become tired, and they might be tempted to use a quick pick-me-up to keep them going.  

  • Relax. After a long shift, a nurse might have trouble relaxing and be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to relax.  

  • Judgement. Fear of being judged for addiction might keep a nurse from seeking help. Sometimes their medical knowledge makes them think that they should not succumb to addiction and fear what other medical personnel might say.    

  • Career. Once a nurse starts down the path to addiction, he/she might be afraid to get help because it could potentially ruin his/her career.  Instead of getting help, the nurse may continue to use drugs or alcohol.  

Effective Treatment

Drug and alcohol use impairs nurses’ ability to do their job. Substance abuse could put their patients at risk. This makes it absolutely essential for nurses to get the treatment they need.  Effective treatment for nurses should include:

  • Education on Addiction. Treatment should always include education on addiction.  Nurses need to understand their addiction and learn ways to handle stress without turning to drugs or alcohol.

  • Intensive Treatment. Addiction treatment should include intensive treatment.  This may include treatment at an in-patient center where they can receive counseling.  

  • Peer Support. Support from peers is always helpful for overcoming addiction.  Any treatment should help nurses identify a support system.  

  • Privacy. Treatment should be kept private.  This will help more nurses seek treatment since they will know that their participation will be kept confidential.  

  • Aftercare. Aftercare is just as important as treatment.  Addiction recovery is a lifelong process, and continued support methods should be considered, whether it is on-going outpatient therapy or participation in a 12 step program.  

  • Re-entry Plan. A plan should be formed for how to get the nurse back to work and how relapse can be prevented in the high-risk environment.  Nurses hold valuable skills, and the goal should be to get them back doing the job for which they trained.  

Treatment Steps

Not every treatment plan looks the same.  Each person has specialized needs that need to be considered. However, many steps will look the same.  In general, a treatment plan for nurses should include the following steps:

  1. Evaluate. Each nurse should be evaluated on a case by case basis.  

  2. Plan. Then an individualized treatment plan should be formed.

  3. Detox. Depending on the individual, detox may be necessary.  It can be a difficult process for the body to face withdrawal.  There are medications that can be used to make the process less difficult.  

  4. Inpatient Treatment. After detox, the nurse would enter an inpatient treatment program that would include therapy and skill development.  

  5. Aftercare. Once released from inpatient treatment, there must be some type of follow up care.  Addiction recovery is an ongoing process throughout their life.  It is important to have a plan for ongoing treatment which can take the form of attending meetings for a 12 step program or meeting with a therapist on an outpatient basis.  As part of their return to work, nurses may need to sign a document detailing what happens if there is a relapse, or if medication goes missing, and whether there will be drug testing.  

Where to go for Help

Sometimes nurses do not know where to turn for help. Instead of dealing with the addiction they pretend that they are okay.  There are many resources and places to turn for nurses struggling with addiction.  They can turn to:

  • Human Resources Department

  • Trusted Co-worker

  • Primary Physician

  • Addiction Specialist

  • Addiction Hotline

  • Origins of Hope Addiction Treatment Center for Women

Hope for the Future

Addiction doesn’t need to mean the loss of employment and the foregoing of a meaningful career.  Nurses can get help for addiction treatment and go on to enjoy purposeful lives.  Give hope a chance and call Origins of Hope today to learn more about our addiction treatment center for women.

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Origins of Hope provides treatment to women for addiction, trauma, anxiety and depression. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, you are not alone. Contact us using the form below or call our 24 hour helpline (561) 304-4673, and get help today! Don't spend another day battling addiction alone. We're here to help.

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